Big divisions found by poll on gay issue

April 28, 1993|By The Gallup Organization

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The public is strongly divided over the issue of gays.

More people than ever before support equal job opportunities for gays. According to a Gallup poll, 80 percent support such rights, compared with 74 percent in 1992 and 59 percent in 1982. But a majority of Americans (56 percent) say that leaders of the homosexual rights movement are pushing too fast. Furthermore, the public is split over whether to extend civil rights protection to homosexuals, similar to the protection afforded minorities and women -- 48 percent oppose such an extension, while 46 percent favor it. And more than one-third of the public (37 percent) feel homosexuals should not openly reveal their homosexuality.

One indication of how polarized Americans are on the gay issue is found in opinion on gays in the military: 71 percent feel "strongly" about the issue, with 40 percent strongly supporting the ban against gays serving in the military and 31 percent strongly opposing the ban. Only 10 percent moderately support it, and 13 percent moderately oppose it. Six percent are unsure.

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